The question as to whether art should be taught in schools or not has been a topic of discussion for over many years; and different arguments have been raised as a result. This paper will examine the question Should art be taught in schools? basing on the side of the argument. Learners should be exposed to wide learning experiences. Politicians should be aware that art in schools system should not be removed because it is a very significant and critical component of effective learning that provides learners with wide learning experiences and therefore, should be taught in every learning institution.
Art in the school system help children develop a sense of individuality. Art is significant in learning because it equips learners with smart life skills that do not only help them in academic aspect but all aspects of life (Hickman, 2010). Art equips students with the general knowledge and makes them more intelligent on every life aspect. Most of the students graduating from schools nowadays cannot be able to face challenges of life because they are not equipped for the outside world effectively. Most of them despite performing well academically lose their way in the real world outside school compound. The main aim of education is to prepare people who can contribute and help build the society (Duncan-Andrade et al., 2008). Education prepares students to be active and productive in the society. However, this had not been the case of late with students coming out of learning institutions more lost than even they were when they went to school. Art incorporates most of the life issues in the learning process, and it is the best answer to this problem that has been facing our society in the modern world (Hickman, 2010: 77). If we take a comparison of the old days and the modern society, research shows that children who went to school when art was still part of the curriculum performed well than the current institutions where art has been withdrawn from the curriculum. For example, the National Assessment of Education Progress study research in 1997 shows that the 8th-grade students who incorporated art in their study performed better than their colleagues who never had art in their curriculum (Hickman, 2010). Another research carried out by the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills shows that the test scores were better where there was art in the system. For example, the research study showed that the test scores had increased by 12.3 over the past five years for the schools where art was incorporated into the curriculum (Hickman, 2010). Therefore, art is an important part of the learning system that should not be neglected if we want to establish a more productive society. Additionally, research has shown that young children who get exposed to the art while they are still young are probably to reach their maximum potential reading and writing levels. Such children are mostly to perform very well both academically and on other life aspects.
The other side tries to emphasize that children do not require art in the curriculum to develop individuality. One may argue that art is improper and no longer needed in the modern education system because of the old aspects it bears (Elkins, 2001). Art mostly incorporates the old issues of the society, and people may not want to relate with the old things, forgetting that our past defines out future. We must understand what happened in the past so as to understand who we are and where we came from. Art might be the only tool that can be used to relate the past and the present and probably the future.
Education is a medium of cultural preservation and therefore, art is the best tool to be used in this case when it comes to storage of important cultural concepts. Art is much older than any other subject in education; for example, if we examine the historical perspective of art we realize that art has a longer history than mathematics or even the sciences (Duncan-Andrade, 2008). Art existed a long time and can be rooted as far as the ancient ages. Art had existed before any other subject came up; a long time before writing emerged there was art in various forms. Art during the ancient ages took various forms; for example, music and dances and other cultural practices such as poetry. Art helps us understand our culture and society as a whole; for example, if we want to examine the historical context of the community or the society as a whole, we will look at it based on the art perspective and not any other way. Therefore, art is important and should be taught in schools because it will help students understand their society and culture better than studying the theoretical aspect as many learning institutions do nowadays. Things have changed over the past years, and one thing that has stood constantly is art. Children should be taught art because it is a fundamental component of the education system.
The other side may argue that children might learn from other ways such as sports and academic clubs and does not need to be through arts. People consider other subjects more significant than art because of the ideology we have developed towards art (Elkins, 2001). People may argue that art something that has been passed with time and should not be given consideration in the learning process because of the old related ideas that are outdated. But we fail to consider the fact that it is the old and outdated ideas that have shaped our society. Society without any culture cannot be defined and can be easily influenced by other culture. Therefore, art is what defines the past, and it helps us understand the culture of our various societies, thus understanding who we are and why we came to existence (Sternberg, 2001: 234). Sternberg (2001) argues that Art describes some historical ideas that cannot be found in records and therefore, it is important to be integrated into teaching.
Art in schools help students express their emotions both physically and mentally. Art helps enhance the learning process both in the classroom and outside the class environment (Duncan-Andrade, 2008). It helps learners develop their internal world through exposure to wide and interesting learning experiences. Research has shown that learning is more effective where there are visual or any other interesting learning materials or situations. In this case, art helps to enhance the learning situation through equipping students with good mastery skills of content through the wide exposure of experiences (Gardner, 2011). Integrating songs or stories in the learning process invokes learners cognitive abilities and as a result, they get the content taught more effectively (Hickman, 2010). Art is important in education both in the classroom and outside the classroom setting. It is very important to start teaching children art while they are still young because it help them develop their cognitive abilities. It will help them also understand themselves in and who they are in the society. It will give them a sense of belongingness to that society they come from by understanding their culture (Sternberg, 2001). Art uses a simple content that learners can easily relate with and therefore, increasing their understanding. Additionally, art helps students become internally healthy and more developed through body expressions. Learning is more effective when there is motivation or reinforcement in the classroom than when there is none. Reinforcing learners is very important in the learning process if we want to achieve the set learning objectives. Art helps in motivating learners through the excitement it involves. Art is a good motivational tool that teachers can employ in teaching because it evokes all learners attention. Although, it is preferable for the young children it can also apply to the advanced students also because it only evokes their way of thinking (Duncan-Andrade, 2008). Most teachers make their classrooms boring for learners because they concentrate mainly on the theoretical context of the subject forgetting that learning should be improved with other materials that can help learners familiarize themselves with the content. Incorporating art in the learning process might help break this boredom of learners and encourage them to participate in the learning (Gardner, 2011). Art is helpful even with the current computerized society. According to Sternberg (2001) explains that Art offers different career options unlike the other subjects such as science that requires one to specialize in one particular area. However, with the introduction of the computer, art may be very useful because the even computer has artistic aspects. For example, the computer can be used in web designing, and power point is designing that are all art based. Nowadays, there are people who have specialized in web designing, and they do great, others are in the graphic artistic related work, and all these are art-based jobs. In most cases, we have been misleading out students that they should aim at the big jobs that are fixed and require one specific qualification. Very few teachers or guardians/parents can advise their children to choose artistic career based options because we have developed a negative attitude towards art that it is old and should not be related to the modernity. Modern society has seen massive growing education and cultural exchange that has been promoted by the globalization. People move from one point to another in search of education and better living conditions. Art helps in establishing a global language that everyone can understand or can easily relate with. Art does not need any other language to explain it other than the one we can see. Art is understood just the way it is seen; it is self-explanatory. Art can be communicated with non-verbal symbols, and the recipient will still get the meaning as intended so long as it is expressed appropriately (Hickman, 2010). Art is a global language that can be understood by any person from any part of the world.
The other side may argue that students are driven by their conscious and they do not require art to control their emotions. Although, some other people may argue that art is used for specific communication (Elkins, 2001), it still has the global aspect of it. There are symbols that are meant to be used for that particular society alone, and one may argue that art may not be appropriate in this case for global function. The modern society is marked by the tremendous growth and technological advancements. The world is now computerized, and most of the things are done using computers. Art has been majorly associated with the ancient way of doing things; with the computer emerging people have identified themselves with the computer such that art has been left as a primitive subject. People have developed beliefs that art is old and cannot be associated with the modernity; the contrary is true. Art is dynamic and has a very wide context that people can explore (Noddings, 2006). Art still stands with the global aspect in common places because what someone may have drawn in America may be understood and well interpreted elsewhere the same way. Therefore, art is s global language that everyone can understand; it does not require someone to learn the language of the designer to interpret it.
In conclusion, politicians may feel that art in schools is waste of education funds. Though, it has been proven countless times that students who have art in school perform better and have higher sense of individuality, creativity and self-expression. So before the policy makers pass a law that removes arts in school, they should think long and hard because these children are the future leaders and they need to be equipped fully for the leadership task. Art is very important in education and should be motivated in teaching. Learning is effective when resources are i...
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